Pre-thinking:

Karen Armstrong looks at religion’s role in the 21st century: Will its dogmas divide us? Or will it unite us for common good? She reviews the catalysts that can drive the world’s faiths to rediscover the Golden Rule.

Why you should listen:

Religious thinker Karen Armstrong has written more than 20 books on faith and the major religions, studying what Islam, Judaism and Christianity have in common, and how our faiths shaped world history and drive current events. Armstrong’s 2008 TED Prize wish asks us to help her assemble the Charter for Compassion, a document around which religious leaders can work together for peace. In late fall 2008, the first draft of the document was written by the world, via a sharing website.

Who is she:

A former nun, Armstrong has written two books about this experience: Through the Narrow Gate, about her seven years in the convent, and The Spiral Staircase, about her subsequent spiritual awakening, when she developed her iconoclastic take on the major monotheistic religions — and on the strains of fundamentalism common to all. She is a powerful voice for ecumenical understanding.

Questions:

1 Give your own definition of the golden rule and provide an example.
2 What does she often hear when religious leaders meet for a discussion?
3 Why does Armstrong have a sense of urgency about compassion?
4 What does Armstrong think has gone wrong with religion?
5 Armstrong thinks that there is something dividing us from one another. What is it?
6 She quotes C.S.Lewis speaking about love. What is the gust of the quote?

Let’s revive the golden rule with Karen Armstrong

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